File image of a Kenya Airways plane
File image of a Kenya Airways plane

Kenya Airways has confirmed plans to covert two of its Boeing 787 Dreamliners to freighters.

The decision was informed by higher demand for cargo transportation. Passenger flights have slowed down in recent months due to travel restrictions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kenya Airways CEO Allan Kilavuka disclosed that the airline had received the go-ahead from lessors to undertake the conversion.

“So far, two lessors have indicated a no objection to the conversion of the B787 Dreamliner aircraft to freighters for a two year period.

“These two aircraft should be converted by the end of the year,” he told reporters.

A Kenya Airways plane pictured shortly after take-off

It is hoped that the conversion will help offset losses brought about by low demand for passenger travel since the onset of the pandemic.

It, however, represents only one aspect of Kenya Airways’ engagement with lessors as it looks to restructure its contracts.

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Among other things, the airline is in talks with lessors for the early return of some of its aircrafts.

Seen as a cost-cutting measure, early returns would reduce maintenance costs and leasing charges for Kenya Airways.

The airline currently has nine Dreamliners on its fleet, but they are primarily used for passenger flights.

Kenya Airways had already converted some of its Boeing 787 aircrafts for cargo transportation during the pandemic.

Seats were, however, not removed to accommodate more freight resulting in the airline only being able to ferry 50 per cent of goods.

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